Laurent Lore
October 2022
Big news in the world of immigration! After being closed for more than two and a half years, the Skilled Migrant and Parent categories have re-opened. This is great news for migrants wanting to make the move to New Zealand, employers who are looking for staff, and children wanting to give their parents a life in New Zealand.

Key points to take from the re-opening of the two categories:

Skilled Migrant category
  • On 9 November 2022, all Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) pool that score160 points or above will be selected;
  • After 09 November 2022, the points required for EOI selection will increase to 180. This means there is significant advantage in 'acting quickly' to file an EOI where an applicant can score at least 160 points but not 180;
  • There is no limit on the number of places available annually under the re-opened SMC;
  • Immigration New Zealand is reviewing the SMC settings and there may be changes to its structure during 2023.

Parent category
  • An adult child wishing to sponsor one parent now need to be earning 1.5 times the median wage, rather than 2 times as was the case before the category closed 2.5 years ago. Thresholds for sponsorship by a couple, and for 2 or more parents, are also set accordingly;
  • Selection of existing Parent Category EOIs will proceed in date order, starting on 14 November 2022;
  • All new EOIs received under the Parent Category will go into a random ballot and the first selection of these will be in August 2023;
  • There is a limit of 2500 Residence Visas annually under the re-opened Parent category.

Immigration processing times continue to be lengthy and delayed. This has contributed to the heavy workload of new rules to 'apply', as directed by Government.

We continue to answer the difficult questions people bring to us. The COVID experience has moved us into holding many client consultations by Zoom or MS Teams. The best way to arrange a meeting is to use our website's online booking system for a video call or a face-to-face meeting. Even lawyers can move with the times, as we all must.

Simon Laurent
Change to 'cost threshold' for health conditions
In September, INZ announced that the 'cost threshold' - that is, the maximum cost a health condition is likely to impose on the New Zealand public health system before an applicant will be found not to have an acceptable standard of health - has increased from $41,000 to $81,000 over 5 years for acute conditions and $81,000 in total for chronic conditions.

INZ says this increase reflects changes to the cost of health services and will also support people with minor health conditions to more readily achieve Residence.

INZ approaches the issue of 'acceptable standard of health' from the perspective of the cost that people impose on limited health resources. The idea is that New Zealand wants healthy migrants who can bring economic benefit rather than being a burden.

However this approach has been criticised, with some saying it is 'discriminatory' and non-compliant with, for example, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This is an interesting argument, but something of a red herring, because international Conventions are not binding in New Zealand domestic law - only Parliament can do that. If you are interested in knowing about this, see here.

Nevertheless the increase to the cost threshold by changes to immigration instructions, which govern visa applications, may indicate some recognition of the UN Convention mentioned above. It definitely represents some relaxation of the traditional approach.
Detailed Active Investor Plus rules released
Immigration New Zealand has released the detailed rules ('Instructions') which Immigration Officers will use to decide applications under the Active Investor Plus category.

There is some real complexity here and quite a bit for Immigration Lawyers and Advisers to get to grips with in order to properly advise applicants.

We have published a short blog series recently (Active Investor Plus Resident Visa - Part 1 & Active Investor Plus Resident Visa - Part 2) , covering some key aspects of this new category.

Please feel welcome to contact us to book a consultation if you would like to discuss an application under the category in more detail.
SUCCESS STORY - 2021 Residence Visa and Exclusion from NZ
We successfully assisted an applicant to apply for Residence under the 2021 Special Residence category, where the applicant was said to be excluded from New Zealand under section 15 of the Immigration Act 2009.

The reason for exclusion from New Zealand was owing to being banned from getting a visa for Canada due to 'misrepresentation of documents'. Our client told us the reason for the misrepresentation was poor conduct by his (Canadian equivalent) Immigration Adviser.

We researched Canadian law to establish that our client was not completely prohibited from re-entering Canada. This then allowed us to argue that our client was not excluded from New Zealand, with reference to the decision of the New Zealand High Court in Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment v EM [2019] NZHC 1966.

In the alternative, we provided submissions in favour of our client being granted a Special Direction. Such a request involves asking a senior immigration officer to grant an applicant a visa even though they are excluded from New Zealand. This is a highly discretionary decision.

See James Turner's vlog on exclusion issues and my blog for more discussion.

We can help with exclusion issues, whether due to being banned from another country or for some other reason, such as a serious criminal conviction. In a lot of cases, if the circumstances surrounding the exclusion are explained, there can be a credible basis for INZ agreeing to grant a Visa.

We don't win every situation, but where we do achieve positive and life-changing outcomes for people, it is very satisfying.